Infrastructure Improvements Reduce K’s Carbon Footprint, Improve Reliability

During the past year, Kalamazoo College has been carrying out a number of projects behind the scenes to strengthen the reliability and sustainability of our campus infrastructure.

Infrastructure Improvements Reduce Carbon Footprint

Consumers Energy presents an energy efficiency rebate to Kalamazoo College in front of the new central chiller plant at Dow Science Center. Pictured from left to right are: President Jorge G. Gonzalez; Jeff Bechtel, Andy J. Egan Co., Inc.; Director of Facilities Management Susan Lindemann; Ralph Huston, Consumers Energy; and Erik Lathers, Consumers Energy.

Last winter, K contracted with Andy J. Egan Co., Inc. to replace the central chiller plant and the chiller plant in the Dow Science Center. This work provides more efficient climate control to campus buildings, resulting in cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint. In November, Consumers Energy presented Kalamazoo College with a $143,311 energy efficiency rebate, which helped to fund the project. It’s estimated that the replacement reduces K’s annual electrical consumption by at least 715,475 kWh, which is equivalent to around 553,116 pounds of coal (the amount burned to generate the electricity) or 506 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The work hasn’t stopped there. During the summer, the College replaced four electrical transformers that service the east end of campus, and Facilities Management continues to work on the steam lines that run between buildings to improve their performance. A campus energy study outlining plans for upgrading electrical and thermal systems campus-wide has also been completed.

Of the improvements, President Jorge G. Gonzalez said, “While these projects are often invisible to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, they meet a critical need on campus. Having a plan for how to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure ensures we can enjoy our beautiful and historic buildings for years to come, and do so in both an environmentally- and cost-conscious way.”